By Mary Cunningham

Talk about a bank shot!

Desperate New Jersey politicians think that making fantasy sites legal will help save the sinking boat that is the Atlantic City gambling industry.

A U.S. House subcommittee hearing on daily fantasy sports scheduled for today is boosting the hopes of those pushing for legalized sports betting for Atlantic City.

“How can the professional sports leagues oppose sports betting at casinos and racetracks, but support and prosper from the betting that is taking place every day in daily fantasy sports?” said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), who first sought hearings last fall.

“To date, the leagues and others have not sufficiently explained the difference between fantasy sports, sports betting and other forms of gambling,” said Pallone, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose commerce subcommittee is holding the hearing.

The American Gaming Association CEO says it’s time to take “a fresh look” at sports gambling.

A 1992 federal law banned sports betting in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. Pallone and U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd Dist.)have introduced legislation to change the law and allow New Jersey to offer sports betting.

That would pave the way for sports betting in Atlantic City, which state officials have sought for years, only to be stymied in the courts in the face of opposition from professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The state’s latest attempt is before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Many of the leagues have embraced daily fantasy sports.

John McManus, MGM’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in prepared testimony for today’s hearing that those same leagues “have been guided for many years by an erroneous belief that lawful sports betting poses a threat to the integrity of professional and amateur sports.”

Fantasy sports was exempted from a 2006 law banning online gambling. The Justice Department in 2011 ruled that states could offer Internet gambling to their residents, and New Jersey was one of three states that took advantage.

Daily fantasy games through companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings has the gambling industry wishing to both get in on the act and to legalize all sports betting as well.

“It’s clear that the status quo on sports betting is unsustainable,” said Geoff Freeman, president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association. “Daily fantasy has been a gift for the sports betting discussion.”

Freeman, whose Washington-based trade group for casino owners includes Caesars Entertainment and Borgata owners Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International as members, said daily fantasy sports operates in a “legal grey world” and there should be “clear rules of the road that lay out where DFS is going to be legal, how it is going to be regulated, and how consumers are going to be protected.”

The head of the trade group for DraftKings and FanDuel, Peter Schoenke, said the industry already is being regulated by state officials.

“We support common sense state regulation to ensure transparency and fairness and to maintain consumer confidence,” said Schoenke, chairman of the Chicago-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

“States have traditionally taken the leading role in regulating these issues, and states have taken varying approaches in the context of fantasy sports.”

About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply